Wikipedia developers have sketched out designs for a Wikipedia Search Engine, which would give users a one-click replacement for Google search. The search engine could also be embedded in devices such as the Kindle, or smartphones.

It’s an fascinating strategic option, and an aggressive one. Google’s site scraping algorithms and front page Info Box have made visiting Wikipedia’s page superfluous, if all the user wants quick facts, or a factoid. Instead of finding Wikipedia through Google, you could bypass Google completely.

The concepts were revealed after much sleuthing by Andreas Kolbe, board member of Wikipedia’s Signpost and occasional Reg contributor.

Most of the staff employed by the cash-rich Wikimedia Foundation work in software development, a fact acknowledged by the appointment of an experienced software exec, Lila Treitkov, to run the non-profit outfit. In recent years, the unpaid Wikipedia volunteers who create the content had complained about the tools WMF produced for them, even going so far as to reject them.

One of WMF’s responses is controversial; the Knowledge Engine project, described by Kolbe. It’s shrouded in secrecy, and Knowledge Engine was cited by former community board member James Heilman as being the cause of disagreements between himself and the WMF board. Heilman was dismissed from his post during the Christmas holidays. It’s also caused disquiet because it was funded not from donations, but by a restricted grant from the Knight Foundation. WMF has not published the grant application in full, only excerpts.

From these some “deliverables” have been made public, in which we can find "an improved search engine and API for Wikipedia searches” – but a more ambitious search is explicitly denied:

Are you building a new search engine?

We are not building Google. We are improving the existing CirrusSearch infrastructure with better relevance, multi language, multi projects search and incorporating new data sources for our projects. We want a relevant and consistent experience for users across searches for both wikipedia.org and our project sites.

In 2008, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales attempted to create a for-profit search Google rival that cashed in on WIkipedia’s brand – called Wikia – but it failed to achieve scale, and was shut down after a year.

The new designs show how Wikipedia.org could be "reimagined", incorporating the Knowledge Engine, to provide a Google-style search engine.

But what would Wikipedia actually search?

With more than five million articles, WMF developers have a wealth of content. So would a Google-style Wikipedia search page or app need to index anything else?


Perhaps not. Since all the world is contained in Wikipedia (or a peculiarly warped representation of the world, at least) then its map is as good as the territory.

And there’s more on Wikipedia than many people think.

Wales is currently debating with contributors the merits of embedding the entire porn movie Debbie Does Dallas in the Wikipedia entry for the film.

Jimbo isn’t keen.

He warns: "It is very easy to imagine a really stupid press story or campaign against us about this. 'Wikipedia embeds porn movies in article content' gives people entirely the wrong impression of what we are about. Why invite that?,” asks Wales.

But he hasn’t been paying close attention, it turns out. It already is.

"The movie was embedded in Debbie Does Dallas so that readers could choose to play it right in the Wikipedia article. For reasons I do not understand, an edit war broke out...,” explains contributor ‘Right Hand Drive’.

"Readers of an article about a pornograohic [sic] movie should not be surprised to see a pornographic movie on Wikipedia,” he continues. "Did you take a look at A Free Ride which has included a pornographic movie in the article since 2012? Can you explain why Debbie Does Dallas is any different?"

So why go outside Wikipedia for any of your needs? It’s all there. With porn on tap, Wikipedia Search could be a winner. ®

Author : Andrew Orlowski

Source : http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/02/11/wikipedia_search_engine/

Categorized in Search Engine


In the course ‘Methodology for Urbanism’ we discuss why Wikipedia cannot be considered a reliable academic source. This is because Wikipedia is not “peer reviewed”. Peer reviewing means that to be accepted as authoritative, a text must be reviewed by a team of recognized specialists in that specific field of studies.

Wikipedia is indeed “peer reviewed” but the problem here is that the people contributing to Wikipedia are not backed by any scientific institution that guaranties their credentials (even though some of them are true authorities in their fields).

This generates all kinds of uncertainties.  But does this mean that we should avoid Wikipedia at all costs? Not at all.

Wikipedia is great to find FACTUAL INFORMATION that can be quickly TRIANGULATED. The kinds of verification and review mechanisms put in place by the Wikipedia Foundation are generally effective (but not always) and also generally result in reliable information (but again, not always).  The primary questions answered with factual information are WHAT?, WHERE?, HOW MANY? and WHO? (but again, this is disputable, as even these questions may result in different answers according to different sources and world views).

WIKIPEDIA cannot be used to gather ANALYTICAL INFORMATION, in which someone “analyses and interprets facts to form an opinion or come to a conclusion. The primary questions answered with analytical information are WHY? or HOW?”, according to the ODU Library Services Website.

WIKIPEDIA is a tremendous SOCIAL EXPERIENCE, where thousands of people contribute to a collective description and understanding of different issues. Besides, the comprehensiveness of the information contained in Wikipedia is impressive. The reality is, students make use of Wikipedia all the time.

However, we want to encourage you to go beyond Wikipedia and use other more authoritative sources.  If you want to be scientific, you must then go further and TRIANGULATE  your information. You also need to look for data in authoritative sources, which have been checked by people working in recognized education or research institutions. A good place to start is GOOGLE SCHOLAR. It will lead you to scientific papers published by responsible editors. You should also look into TU DELFT INSTITUTIONAL REPOSITORY of thesis and reports. And of course, you should look into the collection of SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS at the TU DELFT LIBRARY. These are BY FAR the best sources of reliable, relevant analytical information! 


Categorized in Internet Technology

As Wikipedia has become more and more popular with students, some professors have become increasingly concerned about the online, reader-produced encyclopedia.


While plenty of professors have complained about the lack of accuracy or completeness of entries, and some have discouraged or tried to bar students from using it, the history department at Middlebury College is trying to take a stronger, collective stand. It voted this month to bar students from citing the Web site as a source in papers or other academic work. All faculty members will be telling students about the policy and explaining why material on Wikipedia -- while convenient -- may not be trustworthy.


"As educators, we are in the business of reducing the dissemination of misinformation," said Don Wyatt, chair of the department. "Even though Wikipedia may have some value, particularly from the value of leading students to citable sources, it is not itself an appropriate source for citation," he said.


The department made what Wyatt termed a consensus decision on the issue after discussing problems professors were seeing as students cited incorrect information from Wikipedia in papers and on tests. In one instance, Wyatt said, a professor noticed several students offering the same incorrect information, from Wikipedia.


There was some discussion in the department of trying to ban students from using Wikipedia, but Wyatt said that didn't seem appropriate. Many Wikipedia entries have good bibliographies, Wyatt said. And any absolute ban would just be ignored. "There's the issue of freedom of access," he said. "And I'm not in the business of promulgating unenforceable edicts."


Wyatt said that the department did not specify punishments for citing Wikipedia, and that the primary purpose of the policy was to educate, not to be punitive. He said he doubted that a paper would be rejected for having a single Wikipedia footnote, but that students would be told that they shouldn't do so, and that multiple violations would result in reduced grades or even a failure. "The important point that we wish to communicate to all students taking courses and submitting work in our department in the future is that they cite Wikipedia at their peril," he said.


He stressed that the objection of the department to Wikipedia wasn't its online nature, but its unedited nature, and he said students need to be taught to go for quality information, not just convenience.


The frustrations of Middlebury faculty members are by no means unique. Last year, Alan Liu, a professor of English at the University of California at Santa Barbara, adopted a policy that Wikipedia "is not appropriate as the primary or sole reference for anything that is central to an argument, complex, or controversial." Liu said that it was too early to tell what impact his policy is having. In explaining his rationale -- which he shared with an e-mail list -- he wrote that he had "just read a paper about the relation between structuralism, deconstruction, and postmodernism in which every reference was to the Wikipedia articles on those topics with no awareness that there was any need to read a primary work or even a critical work."


Wikipedia officials agree -- in part -- with Middlebury's history department. "That's a sensible policy," Sandra Ordonez, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mail interview. "Wikipedia is the ideal place to start your research and get a global picture of a topic, however, it is not an authoritative source. In fact, we recommend that students check the facts they find in Wikipedia against other sources. Additionally, it is generally good research practice to cite an original source when writing a paper, or completing an exam. It's usually not advisable, particularly at the university level, to cite an encyclopedia."


Ordonez acknowledged that, given the collaborative nature of Wikipedia writing and editing, "there is no guarantee an article is 100 percent correct," but she said that the site is shifting its focus from growth to improving quality, and that the site is a great resource for students. "Most articles are continually being edited and improved upon, and most contributors are real lovers of knowledge who have a real desire to improve the quality of a particular article," she said.


Experts on digital media said that the Middlebury history professors' reaction was understandable and reflects growing concern among faculty members about the accuracy of what students find online. But some worry that bans on citing Wikipedia may not deal with the underlying issues.


Roy Rosenzweig, director of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, did an analysis of the accuracy of Wikipedia for The Journal of American History, and he found that in many entries, Wikipedia was as accurate or more accurate than more traditional encyclopedias. He said that the quality of material was inconsistent, and that biographical entries were generally well done, while more thematic entries were much less so. Like Ordonez, he said the real problem is one of college students using encyclopedias when they should be using more advanced sources.


"College students shouldn't be citing encyclopedias in their papers," he said. "That's not what college is about. They either should be using primary sources or serious secondary sources."

In the world of college librarians, a major topic of late has been how to guide students in the right direction for research, when Wikipedia and similar sources are so easy. Some of those who have been involved in these discussions said that the Middlebury history department's action pointed to the need for more outreach to students.


Lisa Hinchliffe, head of the undergraduate library and coordinator of information literacy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said that earlier generations of students were in fact taught when it was appropriate (or not) to consult an encyclopedia and why for many a paper they would never even cite a popular magazine or non-scholarly work. "But it was a relatively constrained landscape," and students didn't have easy access to anything equivalent to Wikipedia, she said. "It's not that students are being lazy today. It's a much more complex environment."


When she has taught, and spotted footnotes to sources that aren't appropriate, she's considered that "a teachable moment," Hinchliffe said. She said that she would be interested to see how Middlebury professors react when they get the first violations of their policy, and said she thought there could be positive discussions about why sources are or aren't good ones. That kind of teaching, she said, is important "and can be challenging."


Steven Bell, associate librarian for research and instructional services at Temple University, said of the Middlebury approach: "I applaud the effort for wanting to direct students to good quality resources," but he said he would go about it in a different way.


"I understand what their concerns are. There's no question that [on Wikipedia and similar sites] some things are great and some things are questionable. Some of the pages could be by eighth graders," he said. "But to simply say 'don't use that one' might take students in the wrong direction from the perspective of information literacy."


Students face "an ocean of information" today, much of it of poor quality, so a better approach would be to teach students how to "triangulate" a source like Wikipedia, so they could use other sources to tell whether a given entry could be trusted. "I think our goal should be to equip students with the critical thinking skills to judge." 


Source: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/01/26/wiki 

Categorized in Internet Technology

Wikipedia has begun naming links to its online encyclopaedia that have been removed from EU search results under "right to be forgotten" rules.

The deleted links include pages about European criminals, a musician and an amateur chess player.

The Wikimedia Foundation, which operates the site, said the internet was being "riddled with memory holes" as a result of such takedowns.

The action follow a European Court of Justice ruling in May.

The judges involved decided that citizens had the right to have links to "irrelevant" and outdated data erased from search engine results.

Wikipedia is publishing copies of the removal notices it has received
A fortnight ago Google briefed data regulators that it had subsequently received more than 91,000 requests covering a total of 328,000 links that applicants wanted taken down, and had approved more than 50% of those processed.

The search engine is critical of the court's decision, but has set up a page that people can use to request removals.

At a press conference in London, the Wikimedia Foundation revealed that Google had notified it of five requests involving Wikipedia that it had acted on, affecting more than 50 links to its site.

A dedicated page on Wikipedia states that they include:

  • An English-language page about Gerry Hutch, a Dublin-born businessman nicknamed "the Monk" who was jailed in the 1980s
  • A photograph of a musician, Tom Carstairs, holding a guitar
  • An Italian-language page about Banda della Comasina, the name the media gave to a group of criminals active in the 1970s
  • An Italian-language page about Renato Vallanzasca, an Italian who was jailed after involvement in kidnappings and bank robberies
  • Dozens of Dutch-language pages that mention Guido den Broeder, a chess player from the Netherland

"We only know about these removals because the involved search engine company chose to send notices to the Wikimedia Foundation," the organisation's lawyers wrote in a blog.

"Search engines have no legal obligation to send such notices. Indeed, their ability to continue to do so may be in jeopardy.

"Since search engines are not required to provide affected sites with notice, other search engines may have removed additional links from their results without our knowledge. This lack of transparent policies and procedures is only one of the many flaws in the European decision."

EU regulators have expressed concern that Google is notifying website administrators of the links it removes, suggesting this undermines the point of the law.

While the links do not appear on Google.co.uk and other versions of the search engine created for specific EU countries, they do still appear on Google.com, which can be accessed in Europe.


Data requests

The Wikimedia Foundation has also published its first transparency report - following a similar practice by Google, Twitter and others.

It reveals that the organisation received 304 general content removal requests between July 2012 and June 2014, none of which it complied with.

They included a takedown request from a photographer who had claimed he owned the copyright to a series of selfies taken by a monkey.

Gloucestershire-based David Slater had rotated and cropped the images featured on the site.

But the foundation rejected his claim on the grounds that the monkey had taken the photo, and was therefore the real copyright owner.

The foundation also revealed it had received 56 requests for data about its users.

It said it had complied with eight of these requests, affecting 11 accounts. All of these resulted in information being passed to US-based bodies.

"If we must produce information due to a legally valid request, we will notify the affected user before we disclose, if we are legally permitted and have the means to do so," the foundation said.

"In certain cases, we may help find assistance for users to fight an invalid request.

Source: http://www.bbc.com

Categorized in Online Research

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